Update from Brooklynn Conner Bend, Oregon!
Hello all from hot, humid, green, and gorgeous Sri Lanka. I am one month in to my three month stay at Millennium Elephant Foundation, in Kegalle Sri Lanka. After a few days of adjusting to a 13 1/2 hour time difference my time here has really flown by. I am one of about 15 other volunteers, one being a fellow Carpe student Kaila Busk. People are here anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. For about the first week i felt a bit like a spare part, not really sure what to do with my self, but getting to know everyone and finding my own projects has made things a million times easier.
We have eight elephants currently at MEF. Two are owned by the Sri Lankan family that runs MEF, two are working elephants that are here to take a rest from a difficult life of logging or carrying to many people. The other four are permanent residents who are either temple elephants or retired logging elephants.
Every Volunteer is assigned an elephant to work with. We work with one or two other volunteers and the Mahout (keeper) of the elephant. I work with Raja (king), a 12 foot tusker. He belongs to a temple down the road from here. He is one of the main elephants in one of Sri Lanka’s biggest full moon festivals called a Perahera.
Our week is pretty simple. Wake up between 7 and 8 to clean out the elephant bed, go to breakfast, daily vet check where we check their feet and give them a vitamin ball, and sometime during the day everyone washes their elephant, the rest of the day is for working on projects. Right now I am working on an adoption packet as well as doing some painting.
Our weekends are free, so far i have been a day trip to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandi, absolutely beautiful. I have done two weekends exploring to the beach. Its nice to sometimes just stay at MEF and get some work done as well or just watch the elephants, which NEVER gets old.
I couldn’t be happier with my placement here. I was extremely nervous on my way but as soon as I got here I felt totally confident. My first semester totally prepared me for this. I hope everyone else is having a amazing semester abroad and I cant wait to start reading all of your posts!